UFC Fight Night 88 Play: Jessica Eye (+135) vs Sara McMann (-155)

UFC Fight Night 88: Almeida vs Garbrandt Date: May 29, 2016 Arena: Mandalay Bay Events Center City: Las Vegas, NV Women’s Bantamweight bout: Jessica Eye (+135) vs Sara McMann (-155) Fight Breakdown: The UFC Fight Night 88 preliminary card on FOX Sports 1 will be headlining a “do or die” match-up in the women’s bantamweight division between Jessica “Evil” Eye and Sara McMann, with Eye being the betting underdog at +135 ($100 to win $135) and McMann being favored to win at -155 ($155 to win $100) at Several Bookmakerss. Jessica “Evil” Eye (11-4-1 NC MMA, 1-3-1 NC UFC) last saw action at UFC 192 over seven months ago, where she came up short in a unanimous decision against Juliana Pena. The loss puts her on a two-fight defecit and makes her 1-3 in her last four outings inside the Octagon, which means she has her back against the wall heading into this match-up against McMann. “Evil” is a fast starter; she does not waste any time getting the action going, and putting the pressure on her opponents. Her striking is solid and she packs power behind her punches, though she doesn’t always find the T/KO finish. Same goes for her submission game; it’s pretty good, but she rarely catches anyone unless she hurt them first with strikes. The Ohio native trains her jiu-jitsu under the tutelage of Pablo Castro, and has won a number of grappling tournaments. She is an excellent scrambler, and is great at working reversals. Eye is an aggressive fighter who fights with a lot of heart and is hard to finish. She works great inside the clinch, especially with her knees. The 29-year-old is well-conditioned and will likely have an advantage in the department heading into this women’s 135-pound affair. She will be game for a full three rounds of action heading into this contest against McMann, should the fight find it’s way to the judges’ scorecards for a decision. Sara McMann (8-3 MMA, 2-3 UFC) last saw action at UFC Fight Night 78 nearly a year ago, where she suffered a first round rear naked choke submission against current number one contender Amanda Nunes. The loss puts her on a two-fight losing streak and makes her 1-3 in her last four UFC outings. Just like Eye, she will have her back against her wall heading into this “do or die’ match-up. McMann competed in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, where she earned a silver medal in freestyle wrestling. The 35-year-old is a very talented wrestler, and is blossoming into a solid Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner. Training under the all-time great Marcelo Garcia, you know she is going to be a threat when the fight hits the mat, and she does a tremendous job of taking the fight there. She possesses excellent takedowns, including a beautiful single leg and a powerful body-lock takedown. Not only has McMann begun to hone a noteworthy offensive submission game, but her submission defense is also solid, despite being choked out by Nunes in her most recent outing inside the Octagon. The Olympic silver medalist has developed solid striking skills, and does a great job of using her strikes to set up her takedowns. On the mat, she remains heavy with her top position, though she is not very active with her ground and pound. However, she does a good job of advancing positions and remains a threat with her ever-growing aforementioned submission game. McMann moves well on her feet, being able to get in and out quickly while dropping effective combinations. She works some nice 1-2’s and possesses a heavy over-hand right. The 35-year-old starts off fast; she works nice leg kicks, as well as a solid front kick. She has a decent chin and isn’t afraid to take one to land one of her own; more like take one to land a few, because of how quick she is with her hands. The Invicta FC veteran is very powerful, and it is evident when she closes the distance on her opponents. She is an incredible athlete who used to not have issues with her cardio, however that is something to keep an eye on heading into this contest against Eye. Gabe’s Thoughts: I think McMann’s advantages in size, physical strength and wrestling will be her key’s to getting her hand raised on Saturda night. I see her having a smart game plan and grinding Eye out for the majority (or entirety) of three rounds to pick up a unanimous decision win on the judges’ scorecards, ultimately securing her spot on the UFC’s women’s bantamweight roster. I think McMann would be released from the promotion, should she come up short, but if Eye loses, I could see her next Octagon outing coming in the women’s flyweight division, should the UFC opt to stick with that division following the forthcoming Valerie Letourneau vs Joanne Calderwood inaugral women’s 125-pound bout. The one thing I don’t like is the fact that Eye has some momentum behind her with her gym-mate Stipe Miocic coming off a heavyweight title win and has the support of Cleveland. She will be confident and motivated heading into this fight, but I don’t think that will be enough, as long as McMann shows up desparate for victory, which is what I expect of her. Gabe’s Call: McMann by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) Gabe’s Recommended Play: McMann (-155) 3.1u to win 2u

Written by Gabe Killian

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